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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

VendOp is helping manufacturers and customers keep it Made in America.

We recently had the privilege of talking to VendOp creator, Andy Kohm, about his new company dedicated to connecting American manufacturers and customers.

Kohm dove straight into how he formed the idea for VendOp, “My background was engineering before I started VendOp, specifically in medical devices. I realized how difficult it is to find a good vendor who can do what you need them to do.

“I tried to use yelp to find a good manufacturer,’ Kohm explained. He liked the reviews he could see from other real people but couldn’t find any reviews specifically for manufacturers.

“Why can I read reviews for something as trivial as a toothpick, but I can’t get reviews from people who have partnered with these manufacturers before?” he asked.

Kohm decided to change that fact and came up with the idea for VendOp. “We’re trying to help customers find the best manufacturer, but also help manufacturers find customers. It goes both ways to help both sides,” he said.

A Yelp for the Manufacturing Industry

“The process of finding a manufacturer is usually very tricky, and at the end of the day you’re really just taking a guess,” Kohm said. “We wanted to change that. We want to build trust and make things easier for both sides."

Kohm took a look at demographics and other industry facts and came to the conclusion that he needed something like Yelp, just geared towards the manufacturing industry.

“We know the younger generations use the Internet for everything. Which means they read reviews for everything, so we want to provide that specifically in the manufacturing industry.

“There are many different ways that customers use this service,” Kohm continued. “One is to read reviews about manufacturers, and another is to narrow down their search to find a specific manufacturer.

VendOp also has a rating system in which the customer can rate the manufacturer based on price, quality, timely delivery, and more. Kohm wants VendOp users to be as involved as they want in the process of finding a manufacturer.

“You can search very specifically,” said Kohm. “You can search for a specific service in a specific area between a specific price range.”

“We try and keep it as American as we can and we ask the question, ‘Where are your trusted manufacturers?’ We’re simply not going for offshoring.” -Andy Kohm

Kohm says he dedicates a lot of his time to make sure the information given by companies is completely truthful and reflects the nature of the company.

“On VendOp, we have everything from Mom and Pop shops without a website to huge companies,” he explained. “We don’t favor big or small; we want to help everyone and we’re not specific to a single industry. We work very hard to make sure all the manufacturer’s information is correct.”

But How American-made Is It?

“We generally try and focus more on helping the businesses make a decision about which manufacturer to use, rather than focus on the manufacturers,” said Kohm. “We’re very much like Yelp in the fact that people use us to find what their looking for based on suggestions and ratings from other trusted people.”

The best thing about VendOp is that it is made for the United States. “We’re really driving people to find manufacturers within the U.S.,” said Kohm. “We try and keep it as American as we can and we ask the question, ‘Where are your trusted manufacturers?’ We’re simply not going for offshoring.”